Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Do Better

Last year I experimented with setting myself a theme for the year - Use it UP I told myself! It helped me focus my intentions, I learned, and had fun trying new things. I had a no-spend February, went vegan for 6 weeks, repurposed a lot of things, made my own stuff, cleared out a lot of clutter and excess, stopped myself from taking on more clutter and excess and generally cut down on my consumption. 2013 helped me form new habits that will stick with me for a long time: 

  • I will never go back to consuming the amount of dairy I once did, and my sinuses and digestion are happier for it
  • Making my own cleaning and personal hygiene supplies is so easy and I like knowing what's in the products I use (deodorant, shampoo, make up remover, laundry soap, all purpose cleaner)
  • One of the most pleasurable ways to use up what you have is by giving it away! Giving hand made things makes me feel accomplished, and carefully selected regifting helps me let go of things that I love but don't really need to keep
  • Making food from scratch tastes better, is better for the environment and is often cheaper

As we approached the new year I was thinking that this theme thing was just a one off because I really wasn't feeling any new theminess coming on (yeah, theminess, that feeling that things are coming into focus and you have a broad new direction you want to move in). My reluctance was mostly a hesitancy to take on a bold new thing that I might not keep up with all year long. Things such as "exercise every day", "write every day" and "go camping at least once a month" are ideas rattling around my head that I want to commit to but haven't. It's not that they are not important to me, but I could not vizualize what to stop doing, or give up, in order to increase in these areas. I don't want to lose momentum on what I'm doing right to grow in a new direction. Then I remembered the book Now Discover Your Strengths that I read at work, in which I learned that it's more effective to focus on and grow your strengths than to try to make up for your shortfalls. This book really helped me understand myself and my team and how to work together. And it was that insight that led me to my theme for 2014 - Do Better! 

Rather than taking on new things, I'm going to support my strengths and ramp up what I'm already doing well, to challenge myself to Do Better. So, here are some things I'm already doing:

  • Health: I eat mostly organic and made from scratch food, walk to work sometimes
  • Wealth: I am frugal, save money, am financially responsible
  • Relationships: I am an affectionate, supportive, loving mother, daughter, friend
  • Social responsibility: At work I make a difference in lives of parents and young children, personally I am committed reducing my carbon footprint, recycling.

So, I'm going to take a journey this year to challenge myself to Do Better in all four of these areas. I will use this blog to keep myself accountable and share what I've learned along the way (and I will Do Better at keeping up with my blog than I did last year!). 

Happy New Year! Every day is the first day of a whole new year, so take one more minute today and give yourself the gift of reading this poem from Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.

You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,

with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays. 


Nancy Monroe said...

Thanks for the Ralph Waldo Emerson poem and for sharing your ideas of strengthening your strengths. Sounds like a doable resolution. There is an ad on TV that I like. A grown male facilitator sits around with a group of young children and asks them a question. A serious young boy answers saying something about New Year's Revolutions. He follows this with suggesting he would like more jelly beans in 2014. I would like a peaceful revolution in the world, more communication and hugs, and more jelly beans! *Just sometimes because they are acidic and sugary and my body wants less acidic food and less sugar - like the black beans and collards I had for lunch with a little hot sauce - Happy Year Carla. Hugs, Nancy

Ann R said...

What a beautiful way to start the new year. I love your theme - it's so approachable, and while I'm all for stretching to grow, I'm learning that ease is also an important part of the equation. Thanks Carla - Happy new Year! Ann